The Best Cup of Coffee Ever

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Location, Location, Location. Photo by Louis Cahill

On a cold rainy morning in western Alaska, when you’ve been up since five and your arms are tired from fighting fish, a cup of hot coffee goes a long way.

The best cup of coffee I ever had was made by Jim Palmersheim on the Arolik River. Jim guides for Alaska West but he’s not going to let living on an island in the Alaska bush all summer get between him and a great cup of Joe. There’s a lot to be said for timing and location but the coffee really was amazing. Jim packs his beans in and heats his water like a chemist so that it’s the perfect temperature when it’s time for a coffee break. He has a high tech press like I’ve never seen before. I asked Jim to share his secret and here it is in his own words.

Ok, Thermos should be tempered with hot water before the coffee water is added. Temp of coffee water before adding to thermos is 200 degrees. This will make the water around 175-180 degrees around 10am for an AK coffee break. I like to use Sumatran beans. The beans are ground daily in a blade grinder(cuz that’s what I have in the AK bush) for 20 seconds. Two scoops of ground coffee are added to my Aero Press and the hot water following. Fill to the #3 mark on the side of the press. Stir with the supplied paddle for 20 seconds. This will give the perfect grind for the right pressure to leave a little crema after it is pressed. You can get an Aero Press from Northwest River Supply.
It comes with filters that can be used numerous times before changing. In fact I think they start getting good after about the 6th use. After about cup #15 they start to break down and it’s time for a change. Enjoy!

It addition to making the worlds best cup of coffee Jim is a pastel artist. His work is nothing short of amazing. You can see it at

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline

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5 thoughts on “The Best Cup of Coffee Ever

  1. On my way to Ebay now for the press. US Air must have thought my old press was some sort of bomb or bomb containing device on the flight out to Utah. So they decided to break the seal and filter.

      • I guess a giant cabelas water-proof bag full of various camping/fishing/fly-tying equipment does look a little odd going through the old x-ray machine. Funny thing is no one check my rod tubes that i carried on the plane with me along with my 5200 sierra internal frame backpack? I think we are driving next year and taking the boats….when and where is still up in the air since it’s all about the runoff.

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